Trauma, neglect of our basic needs, the experience of not being received into the world with honor and joy, loss of consciousness – such as in a blow to the head or severe black-outs due to drugs and alcohol – all can instigate a condition we recognize as a loss of the Soul. When we exist in life with an aspect of our Soul disconnected or missing we suffer the consequential disruptions and difficulties that arise from being only partially ‘here’.
The nature of the specific dysfunction is determined by which Soul has departed.
THE SOUL’S DESIGN
We have three Souls, or aspects of one Soul. They are the Earth, Underworld and Celestial Souls. The Earth Soul is the one that we communicate with on a day-to-day basis and is the residing place of our short-term memory. With this Soul we make connections in a logical manner, recognizing patterns and associations and grounding these perceptions into the Body/Mind as conscious awareness.
The Underworld Soul, or Dream Soul, is the Soul from which we dream. As our senses shut down at night our attentions shifts into the Dream Soul. Our remembered experiences of this Soul and its activities are what are translated to us in the waking state as dreams. It is within the Underworld Soul that we store our life force that we generate each and every day.
When the Earth Soul leaves the person experiences melancholy, being ungrounded, unable to fully make logical connections between events and data, and a strong sense of not being whole
This charge of life force, or Power, as we refer to it Shamanically, resonates with our thoughts, feelings, impressions, experiences and perceptions; that is, memories. The Underworld Soul is the place where our long-term memories are stored.
Our Celestial Soul is the High Self through which we receive spiritual guidance and direction in our lives.
When our attention is moved into the Celestial Soul we experience flying dreams, dreams of the transcendental and visions which alter our perceptions of, and approaches to, life forevermore.
Loss of Earth Soul
When the Earth Soul leaves the person experiences melancholy, being ungrounded, unable to fully make logical connections between events and data, and a strong sense of not being whole. Short-term memory is hazardous; the individual chronically forgetful, unable to remember the name of a person just met, where the keys to the car are placed, unable to recall the message of the last paragraph just read. When the Earth Soul is gone the Underworld Soul moves from its native position in the Dream Realm and takes up residence in the place of the Earth Soul. As a consequence the individual often finds that life’s daily events take on a dream-like quality, as if one were moving through a theatre production.
Walking into a social situation the person whose Earth Soul has been replaced by the Dream Soul has an overwhelming intuitive understanding of the mythic dynamics of the interactions they are greeted with. Minor events take on connotations of high significance. While we all have moments of this type of perceptual capability, the person whose Earth Soul is missing must live in the non-ordinary world each and every moment and usually finds it very disconcerting.
Retrieval of the Earth Soul
When, through trauma or neglect, the Earth Soul departs from integration with the other two Souls, becomes dis-anchored from the Body/Mind, it may stay here in the earthly domain, in the realm of physical construct. In essence it becomes a ghost.
In these situations the Earth Soul will retreat to a place, an environs, in which the person had come to associate a feeling of safety, acceptance and security.
This might be a tree that as a child the individual would climb high into to ‘get away from it all’, a favorite creek-side ‘special place’ where no one would find freedom from being bothered. Or the Earth Soul may find that place of security in Gramma’s house, away from the turmoil and abuse of our parental home. For some, who find violence and rage awaits them upon birth into the World may even retreat back into the ‘In-Between Place’ between one incarnation and the next.
At other times the Earth Soul will retreat into the Underworld, or Dream Realm, where it takes up residence within the mythic Cave, a place constructed in the Dream to provide seclusion and safety. When this is the situation, a Guardian immediately arises to insure that no further harm will come to the Soul, and to insure that it does not wander back into the Earthly world, as the world has shown itself to be a threatening and unsafe place.
This is where the intimate knowledge the Shaman has of the Dream World and its denizens is so critical. To seek to fight, overcome and vanquish the Guardian only evokes its purpose into action. The experienced and wise Shaman, therefore, does not seek to battle the Guardian. Rather, he/she bows down in front of the Guardian and speaks:
“Guardian, I honor you for your dedication and commitment in fulfilling your task of protecting this Lost Child. A fine job you have done. Such a fine job, in fact, that I have been sent here to promote you! Your service has been recognized and appreciated, and it is now bestowed upon you to walk forth into the world, this Child’s arm in your arm, as Chaperone. You will still protect this Child from those who would cause injury or dishonor, while at the same time introducing this Child to those people and situations that will bring him/her honor and opportunity.”
Knowing well the nature of the Guardians, having spent so much time in their domain of the Dream, I happen to know that they love this. The Guardian is, after all, another projection of the person’s Soul, but their Underworld/Dream Soul, into crystallized archetypal form. And, having remained on task all this time, that aspect of the person’s Underworld Soul has not had the chance to grow and evolve any more than the Lost Child in the Cave had. They are bound together in mutual destiny.
By freeing the Underworld Soul’s aspect of Guardian, enabling it to step forth in its next highest octave of its evolutionary expression, is an experience of exalted freedom for that Soul archetype. The Guardian then shapeshifts through a variety of forms, trying on, as it were, different personas to find the one that will best serve it in its continued service to the Child, who is also about to mature. The Guardian will then settle into a singular guise and declare itself and its nature and attributes of service. The visage of the Chaperone will also be determined by the client’s unconscious associations of a character or mythic figure that embodies the qualities the Chaperone now brings to the relationship.
Stepping past the Guardian-now-Chaperone, the Shaman enters the Cave. Observing the Lost Child, getting an impression of the Soul’s purpose exhibited by the Child’s occupying activities, the Shaman waits till he/she is noticed. Only then does the Shaman speak and introduce him/herself and the purpose of the visit: to bring the Lost Child home to the body-mind of the world from which it has escaped.
It is not unusual for the Lost Child to cry out: “No-o-o-o! Why would I want to go back there? It is painful and dangerous.” As the Lost Child in the Cave has had no awareness of the passage of time, neither does he/she have any knowledge of the growth, physically, mentally and emotionally, of the body-mind personality that resides in the world. As far as the Child knows, the abuse or danger or threats to his/her survival is still occurring.
When I speak with the Child and inform them that I have been sent to bring them home, they will continue in asking: “Is there anyone there for me? Is there anyone there who will love me, care for me, see to my needs, put me first above all others? Is there anyone there who will challenge me to grow, and support me in meeting those challenges? Is there anyone there for me?”
It is at this point that I must ask of you, who are reading this, who have recognized your own plight in this Mythos I have been relating – you, who have found that I am speaking to you, I must ask: “What am I to answer this Child? Is there anyone there for him/her? Is there anyone who will stand in honor of the needs of this Child, love her/him, challenge and support him/her?”
I will then ask you, if you have not already embraced and responded to the true nature of what is being asked: “Will you stand forth on behalf of this Child, your own Soul, lost, who now wants to come home? Will you welcome and embrace in love this Child, your Soul?”
But of course you will, this is why you have come this far.
You will now understand that you, dear reader, have come to embody all the qualities of character that the Lost Child, your own Little Boy/Girl, your Soul, so desperately needed for someone to share with you when you were frightened and threatened, but there was no one there for you.
The adults who were supposed to be the ones who cared for you as that little child, were the very ones who threatened, or simply ignored, your needs. And now you have grown to incorporate all those traits of caring and loving and protection of innocence and trust and safety. You have become the very one you so dearly needed when you were so very young.
You, alerted reader, separated your Soul from the events and situations that were so threatening and damaging, in order that the sanctity of your being would be protected, safe from further harm.
You survived. How do I know you survived? Because you are even now reading this. And beyond surviving, you have succeeded! You have succeeded in being the person who is eminently qualified to care for such a tender Soul as your own.
It is now time to bring the Lost Child home, to become whole once again, to return to full functioning in your life. Let us begin… all you need do is ask.
Jade Wah’oo Grigori, shaman
Caretaker of The Ways
Image: ‘Soul Retrieval’ – photography by Kiki Toao